Reigning NTT IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon took the pole position for the 2021 Indianapolis 500 with a four-lap average of 231.685 mph executed with surgical precision. Dixon’s fourth pole position for the event comes at the expense of Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta, who got beat by three one hundredths of a mile per hour and will start second. On the last row of the grid, Will Power and Team Penske avoided disaster and qualified for “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”.
The day began with last row qualifying, and Dreyer and Reinbold Racing‘s Sage Karam was the first of five drivers to make an attempt on the hot, slick track. Karam set the bar with a four-lap average of 229.156 mph that was the best all session.
Next up was Power, who ran his car on the ragged edge, his right rear tyre making serious contact with the wall in turn two on his fourth lap. His average speed was slower than Karam at 228.876 mph, putting knots in many a stomach in the Penske camp.
After Power was Simona De Silvestro of Paretta Autosport, the female-forward team with a technical partnership with Penske. She set an average of 228.353 mph, once again slower than the car before her, putting her on the hot seat at risk of getting bumped.
Charlie Kimball of A.J. Foyt Enterprises was the penultimate driver to make his first run, and much to the relief of De Silvestro and team, he was also slower. To complete the trend, RC Enerson and Top Gun Racing were the slowest and last team to make their run, putting Karam, Power, and De Silvestro provisionally into the show after the first runs.
Unlike in previous years, teams were allowed to make adjustments and run multiple times if needed. Enerson and Kimball waited all the way until fifteen minutes were left in the ninety minute session to make their second attempts with Enerson out first. A 227 mph first lap was indicative of the next three, as Enerson failed to make the top three spots on that run with an average of 226.813 mph. Kimball was next with six minutes left, and while his four laps were incredibly consistent, he just didn’t have the speed in his car to make it into “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” with an average of 227.584 mph.
As heartbreak set in for Kimball and Enerson, Karam, Power and De Silvestro all took sighs of relief now knowing that they are in the race next Sunday, starting thirty-first, thirty-second and thirty-third respectively.
Immediately after was the one-shot Fast Nine qualifying to set the front three rows of the grid. Drivers went in reverse order from their speeds after yesterday, meaning that Marcus Ericsson was the first to hit the track and set a solid average speed of 230.318 mph. It would only be good enough for ninth, but even then this is his best starting position at the Indy 500.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was the next driver to qualify, setting an average of 230.499 mph that was enough to beat Ericsson, but signifigant drop off across the four laps kept him down the field. He will start the race seventh.
Alex Palou hit the track next, after the team put over fifteen hours of work into the racecar following the Spaniard’s massive collision in turn two during qualifying yesterday. Palou gave his team boxes donuts this morning for their hard work, and put his car provisionally fastest with an average of 230.616 mph. It wouldn’t quite hold at the top, but would be enough for sixth place.
Fastest in this morning’s fast nine practice session, Meyer Shank Racing‘s Helio Castroneves took to the track in hopes of grabbing his fourth Indy 500 pole, but would not make it a reality. His average of 230.355 mph was enough for third fastest at the time, but eventually eighth on the grid.
Rinus Veekay was next, the first of two Chevrolets in the fast nine and he put together a heart-stopping performance as only he could. His first lap was the first of the day over 232 mph, and was incredibly consistent. On the last lap in turn one, Veekay had a massive wiggle and almost lost control, but he kept his foot in the gas the entire way and salvaged the lap for an average of 231.511 mph that rocketed him to provisional pole by almost a full mile per hour.
Veekay’s boss at Ed Carpenter Racing, Ed Carpenter, followed right after and followed suit with his own 232 mph first lap, but had slightly more drop off across his four laps for an average of 231.504 mph that put him second provisionally and will see him start fourth.
Into the three fastest drivers, Tony Kanaan hit the track, but was unable to match the ECR drivers in hitting 232 mph on the first lap, throwing a pole position out the window, but he was able to put together an average of 231.032 mph which put him third provisionally, and will see the 2013 Indy 500 winner start fifth.
Herta was the penultimate driver to go and electrified the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his incredibly consistent run of 231.655 mph, enough to finally steal provisional pole from Veekay. But he wouldn’t be able to celebrate for long, as the “Iceman” saved the best for last to steal the pole. His first lap of 232.7 mph was the fastest lap seen all session, and was consistent enough to beat Herta and take that fourth Indy 500 pole.
With the grid now set, teams have two more practice sessions before the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500, which will take place next Sunday 30 May at 1200 EST / 1700 BST.
2021 Indianapolis 500 Qualifying Day Two Results
|1||9||Scott Dixon||NZL||Chip Ganassi Racing||231.685|
|2||26||Colton Herta||USA||Andretti Autosport||231.655|
|3||21||Rinus VeeKay||NED||Ed Carpenter Racing||231.511|
|4||20||Ed Carpenter||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||231.504|
|5||48||Tony Kanaan||BRA||Chip Ganassi Racing||231.032|
|6||10||Alex Palou||ESP||Chip Ganassi Racing||230.616|
|7||28||Ryan Hunter-Reay||USA||Andretti Autosport||230.499|
|8||6||Helio Castroneves||BRA||Meyer Shank Racing||230.355|
|9||8||Marcus Ericsson||SWE||Chip Ganassi Racing||230.318|
|10||27||Alexander Rossi||USA||Andretti Autosport||231.046|
|11||18||Ed Jones||UAE||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser Sullivan||231.044|
|12||5||Pato O’Ward||MEX||Arrow McLaren SP||230.864|
|13||51||Pietro Fittipaldi||BRA||Dale Coyne Racing w/ Rick Ware Racing||230.846|
|14||7||Felix Rosenqvist||SWE||Arrow McLaren SP||230.744|
|15||30||Takuma Sato||JPN||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||230.708|
|16||29||James Hinchcliffe||CAN||Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport||230.563|
|17||3||Scott McLaughlin||NZL||Team Penske||230.557|
|18||15||Graham Rahal||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||230.521|
|19||47||Conor Daly||USA||Ed Carpenter Racing||230.427|
|20||60||Jack Harvey||GBR||Meyer Shank Racing||230.191|
|21||2||Josef Newgarden||USA||Team Penske||230.071|
|22||1||JR Hildebrand||USA||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||229.98|
|23||45||Santino Ferrucci||USA||Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing||229.949|
|24||86||Juan Pablo Montoya||COL||Arrow McLaren SP||229.891|
|25||98||Marco Andretti||USA||Andretti Herta-Haupert w/Marco & Curb-Agajanian||229.872|
|26||22||Simon Pagenaud||FRA||Team Penske||229.778|
|27||14||Sebastien Bourdais||FRA||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||229.744|
|28||25||Stefan Wilson||GBR||Andretti Autosport||229.714|
|30||4||Dalton Kellett||CAN||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||228.323|
|31||24||Sage Karam||USA||Dreyer & Reinbold||229.156|
|32||12||Will Power||AUS||Team Penske||228.876|
|33||16||Simona De Silvestro||SUI||Paretta Autosport||228.353|